Reviewed by: BigAl
Genre: Memoir/Travel Narrative
Approximate word count: 30-35,000 words
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“Jeff Bauer is a community organizer, public policy advocate, and writer based in Saint Paul, MN. His blog, onlybiggerthinking.com, has been read by nearly 10,000 people in over 50 countries. Folds in the Map is his first book. In addition to his work as a writer, Jeff recently lead a successful advocacy effort, in his role as Director of Public Policy at The Family Partnership, to pass a nation-leading Safe Harbor law in Minnesota to protect children from sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. He lives in a tiny house on St. Paul's West Side with his wife, Diane.”
Jeff Bauer “embarks on an earnest, touching journey to discover the places where we feel most connected as human beings – to each other, to nature, and to the world around us. From the bottom of a bomb crater in Laos, to a refugee camp on the Sudanese border, to the side of a Panamanian volcano, and back home again to the frozen January streets of Minnesota.”
Amazon currently has this book categorized a couple different ways, as “self-help/personal transformation” and in a category with “spirituality/personal growth and inspiration” at the detail end of the category string. I’ve chosen to call it a memoir or travel narrative. All of these attempts to put a label on Folds in the Map are accurate, yet misleading.
These are a collection of essays that, while inspirational, don’t really fit what I picture when I think of a book with the labels used on Amazon. And while most take place in a specific place with the nature of the culture and events that happen playing a large role, both of my picks are also misleading.
However, many of the reasons you might read a book in any of the possible categories we might try pigeon holing Folds in the Map into, fit it well. For example, to gain a better understanding of the human condition, both how we are different and how we are the same. Possibly understanding the connectedness of the world and where we fit in it (or how the author answers that for himself). I could pick a few very minor nits (for example the use of the phrase “dear reader” in a few spots, which has been a cliché forever), but on balance, I found this to be an enjoyable read for what it is, even if that isn’t easy to categorize.
No significant issues.
Rating: **** Four stars